Education

The Politics Of Health Care Reform
July 24, 2009

On the front page of today's Washington Post, I read that health care reform is dying: Health Reform Deadline In DoubtProcess Could Be Slow And More Contentious Senate Majority Leader Harry M.

Medpac And The Jennifer Aniston Theory Of Obamaism
July 24, 2009

Sticking with the same topic as my previous post, The Atlantic's Derek Thompson, who brilliantly recast Frank's and my theory of Obamaism as the Jennifer Aniston theory of Obamaism, tries to extend the metaphor to accommodate Obama's enthusiasm for MedPAC (i.e., an independent agency that would make health care cost-cutting recommendations, which Congress could reject all at once but couldn't monkey around with). Thompson writes: I wonder how this statement on MedPAC jives with my Jennifer Aniston theory of Obamaism.

Why Congress Shouldn't Dictate Health Care Payments
July 24, 2009

The Wall Street Journal has a solid profile today of budget director Peter Orszag, which nicely illustrates the appeal of having an independent agency empowered to trim health cares costs. (The agency would make recommendations on how to save money, which Congress could vote down in their entirety but not adjust.) Says the Journal: The battle heated up in June, when Mr. Orszag visited Capitol Hill to discuss health care with a small group of House Democrats.

Rising Health Care Costs Top Public Concern
July 24, 2009

Interesting tidbit at the bottom of this Wall Street Journal story about GOP efforts to portray themselves as interested in health care reform: Resurgent Republic, a Web site that provides polling-based strategy for Republicans, noted that "there is a caveat" for the party's new, aggressive strategy. "Concern about rising health-care costs outstrips every other economic concern today," including job losses, it said in a recent analysis. That seems important, and a fact that would complicate Republican efforts to demagogue "rationing" health care. --Jonathan Chait

Paul Krugman Gets It (shocking, I Know)
July 24, 2009

One of the more difficult issues to explain, even for those of us who live and breathe health policy, is why expanding coverage and cost control go hand-in-hand. Among other things, past efforts at cutting health care spending haven't always worked as well. Fortunately for all of us, Paul Krugman writes a biweekly column for the New York Times. He gets it. And today he does a great job of explaining it:  Why does meaningful action on medical costs go along with compassion? One answer is that compassion means not closing your eyes to the human consequences of rising costs.

The Politics Of Health Care Reform
July 24, 2009

On the front page of today's Washington Post, I read that health care reform is dying: Health Reform Deadline In DoubtProcess Could Be Slow And More Contentious Senate Majority Leader Harry M.

What Mckinsey Could Teach Obama
July 23, 2009

Members of Congress who hold the balance of power, including Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus and the Blue Dogs in the House, have concluded that the health care proposals emerging from committee up to now would do too little to control costs. The next phase of deliberation and bargaining will revolve around strategies for reining in costs without reducing the quality of treatment or the pace of innovation in the health care sector. Last December, McKinsey & Company published a comprehensive comparison of U.S. health care spending with that of other OECD countries.

Obama Has A Grown-up Talk With America (gulp)
July 22, 2009

Late in tonight's press conference, President Obama got a question that just begged for an easy, evasive answer.

When Greener Means Healthier
July 21, 2009

Since controlling health care costs is the topic du jour in Washington right now, it's worth pointing out two environmental policies that could have some ancillary health benefits. First, it's true that gasoline taxes tend to be the ultimate political no-fly zone. But new research suggests that higher gas prices wouldn't just cut back on our carbon emissions—they might also cut back on our waistlines (and, accordingly, our medical bills).

The Imac Proposal: Obama's Answer On Cost Control
July 17, 2009

As discussed below, the administration is pushing its idea to create an "Independent Medicare Advisory Commission" that would set payment policies within Medicare, subject to approval by the President and Congress. The idea is similar to a proposal West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat, has been circulating. Today, the administation formally submitted its proposal as a bill. Below is a letter from Budget Director Peter Orszag, explaining the proposal; it went to the leadership and relevant committee chairs in both houses.

Pages